Purpose – The Comrades Marathon is a world‐renowned ultra marathon that takes place yearly between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban in KwaZulu‐Natal, South Africa. It attracts athletes from around the world, and boasts a participation of more than 14,000. The purpose of this article is to determine the impact that this marathon has on the provincial economy – a manufacturing‐based economy. Design/methodology/approach – Spending data of participants and their accompanying spectators were compiled by means of surveys and participants were split into categories based on their origin. The provincial Social Accounting Matrix is used to quantify the impact of this spending stimulus on production, income and job creation within the province. Findings – The results show that Comrades Marathon contributes significantly to the provincial economy and that more than 600 jobs are dependent on the event. Research limitations/implications – It has a larger impact on the local economy than many similar sport events and this is attributed to the specialised nature of the event as well as its status as an ultra‐marathon. Originality/value – This research is one of few on ultra‐marathons and the focus is on participants’ spending behaviour during the event.
International Journal of Event and Festival Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 5, 2012
Keywords: Sport tourism; Ultra‐marathon; Social Accounting Matrix (SAM); Event management; South Africa; Tourism; Sporting events; Local economies
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